The Definitive Guide to Buying Your First Home

How much money you need to make to buy a home and also pay off debt in 10 major US cities

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If you're coping with student loans or credit card debt, you're not alone: The typical American carries around $38,000 in personal debt, not counting a mortgage. Adding a home loan to that can feel daunting.

But depending on where you live, you could still become a homeowner while paying down debt.

To determine how much you'd need to earn to be able to afford to buy a home while also making monthly debt payments, personal finance site SmartAsset added the cost of debt to the median housing expenses in major U.S. cities, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The site assumed homeowners made a 20% down payment and secured a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 4% interest rate.

Some metro areas, such as Dallas, Texas, proved more affordable. Other cities, though, remain out of reach for many prospective homeowners, especially those carrying debt. "In three of California's largest cities, households need an income of at least six figures under the best circumstances just to afford the median home," the survey reports. And "those who are carrying substantial debt payments will need to make significantly more than $100,000."

Below, check out how much you need to earn to afford a typical home while paying off debt in 10 major U.S. cities.

Austin, Texas
  • Salary needed to afford a home with no debt: $61,856
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $500 per month toward debt: $78,523
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $1,000 per month toward debt: $95,190
  • Median home value: $332,700
Chicago, Illinois
  • Salary needed to afford a home with no debt: $46,370
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $500 per month toward debt: $63,037
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $1,000 per month toward debt: $79,704
  • Median home value: $255,900
Chicago, Illinois.
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Dallas, Texas
  • Salary needed to afford a home with no debt: $32,953
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $500 per month toward debt: $49,619
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $1,000 per month toward debt: $66,286
  • Median home value: $190,600
Fort Worth, Texas
  • Salary needed to afford a home with no debt: $35,757
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $500 per month toward debt: $52,424
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $1,000 per month toward debt: $69,090
  • Median home value: $169,400
Fort Worth, Texas.
Jeremy Woodhouse | Getty Images
Los Angeles, California
  • Salary needed to afford a home with no debt: $101,420
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $500 per month toward debt: $118,087
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $1,000 per month toward debt: $134,753
  • Median home value: $647,000
New York, New York
  • Salary needed to afford a home with no debt: $98,082
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $500 per month toward debt: $114,749
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $1,000 per month toward debt: $131,415
  • Median home value: $609,500
New York, New York.
Sir Francis Canker Photography | Moment | Getty Images
Phoenix, Arizona
  • Salary needed to afford a home with no debt: $35,953
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $500 per month toward debt: $52,620
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $1,000 per month toward debt: $69,287
  • Median home value: $231,000
San Diego, California
  • Salary needed to afford a home with no debt: $94,766
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $500 per month toward debt: $111,433
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $1,000 per month toward debt: $128,100
  • Median home value: $600,300
San Diego, California.
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/UIG | Getty Images
San Francisco, California
  • Salary needed to afford a home with no debt: $172,153
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $500 per month toward debt: $188,819
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $1,000 per month toward debt: $205,486
  • Median home value: $1,104,100
San Jose, California
  • Salary needed to afford a home with no debt: $137,304
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $500 per month toward debt: $153,971
  • Salary needed to afford a home and pay $1,000 per month toward debt: $170,637
  • Median home value: $854,700

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